Netherlands have a named a squad with a clear focus on youth
Nepal will host Netherlands and Malaysia for a triangular T20I series, scheduled for April 17 to 24. The three teams will play each other twice, before the top two meet in the final. All games are going to be hosted at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kirtipur.
A statement issued by the Dutch cricket federation, the KNCB, said the decision to give the series the all-clear was taken “following the reduction in Covid cases and resumption of domestic competitions since December 2020” in Nepal. The players and match officials will remain in a bio-secure bubble, the statement added. The Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA), said in a statement of its own that its squad “will be travelling in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) required in both Nepal and Malaysia”.
“There will be mandatory PCR testing for all players and officials, and all matches will be played under strict compliance of the SOP that is in place,” the MCA gave out.
Ryan Campbell, Netherlands’ coach, was quoted in the statement as saying: “After not playing since November 2019, I am overjoyed at the announcement [of the series]. The boys have worked so hard for over a year with so much uncertainty on when our next match will be.”
Mahinda Vallipuram, president of MCA, said: “It is indeed very pleasing to see the revival of international cricket, after a year-long drought in international tournaments. The last international match in which our team played was in 2020 between the end of February and early March, at the T20I ACC Eastern Region in Thailand. This [tri-series] is therefore a morale booster for our national team.”
Netherlands named a somewhat different-looking squad for the tournament, and Campbell explained that it had been selected with a focus on youth, and players who had signed up to play county cricket were not included.
“After such a long break between international fixtures, the squad selected represents the future of Dutch cricket,” Campbell said. “I am extremely happy to announce Aryan Dutt (17), our U-19 allrounder, will join Vikram [Vikramjit] Singh (18) as our two youngest tourists. These two are exciting prospects.
“Aryan can bowl offspin, medium-pace, as well as being a really special batting prospect and we all have already seen what talent Vikram has. Those two will also be joined by our very talented youngsters Bas de Leede and Philippe Boissevain.
“With the decision made not to take any of our County players, this has given us an opportunity to re-introduce Viv [Vivian] Kingma and Sebastiaan Braat into our bowling stocks and we will be looking to see how they adapt to subcontinent conditions.”
Vikramjit Singh had topped the batting chart for Netherlands at the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier Europe Region tournament in 2019, with 304 runs at 60.80, including a hundred and two fifties in five innings.
The squad wasn’t all about new faces, though, as familiar names like Pieter Seelaar, the captain, Ben Cooper, Max O’Dowd and Paul van Meekeren were a part of it.
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Ban vs Aus, 1st T20I, 2021
Mahmudullah on the positive side of biosecure bubbles: “You can spend more time with your team-mates, discuss plans and strategies”
“Mushfiq is definitely one of our most crucial players, and I am personally very disappointed at not having him in the side for this series,” Mahmudullah said at a press conference on the eve of the first of five T20Is. “But, look, being a player, it’s not in our hands. The aim is to play good cricket and do well in terms of the results.
“We are not worrying about it too much, because it’s not an issue we can do anything about. What has happened has happened. The only objective is to start and end the series well.”
What has happened is that Cricket Australia and the Bangladesh Cricket Board had agreed to include their respective biosecure bubbles in Zimbabwe and the West Indies – where they were on tour – as part of the mandatory pre-series ten-day quarantine in Dhaka. But Rahim had to leave Harare for home after both his parents contracted Covid-19. As a result, he can’t be in the Dhaka biosecure bubble now.
“The bubble is tiring at times. But there is a positive to it too – you can spend more time with your team-mates, you can discuss plans and strategies and your games with each other a lot more”
Some team insiders were especially irked because while Rahim wasn’t allowed to join the team, the players who have returned from Zimbabwe have had to do so after going through four airports – Harare, Johannesburg, Doha and Dhaka – with potentially greater exposure to the virus.
Speaking on Sunday, Domingo had said, “I can’t understand the stringent rules Australia have placed on Mushfiq’s bubble. Ten days [on re-entering the bubble after visiting family] surely would have been enough, so [it’s] very disappointing the way they went about it.”
Stressing that the absence of the three regulars would not make them bring down their expectations against a team they have never beaten in the format, Mahmudullah said the while living in biosecure bubbles was not ideal, there were some positives too.
“The bio-bubble system is such that you have to accept it, there is no question of stepping out of it if you want to play cricket,” he said. So yes, it is difficult, not just for me but for everyone, who have parents, partners, children… you miss them. But, having said that, we have to accept it and move forward till we don’t win the fight against Covid.
“The bubble is tiring at times. But there is a positive to it too – you can spend more time with your team-mates, you can discuss plans and strategies and your games with each other a lot more. We are together all the time, so we can bring up subjects with each other that can have a positive impact on our games, and that helps the team too.”
James Harris heads back to Glamorgan for 2022 after agreeing Middlesex exit
Lions seamer returns to home county after nine seasons at Lord’s
Harris, 31, is a product of Glamorgan’s youth system and made his first-class debut for the club as a 16-year-old back in 2007. He was long considered to be a future England international, having been on several Lions tours early in his career, and several counties were interested in signing him when he left the club in 2012.
He eventually decided to join Middlesex, but has had two spells back at Glamorgan on loan and struggled for consistency during his early years at the club after attempting to add a yard of pace in order to put himself into England contention.
His form returned in 2015, when he took 69 Division One wickets at 25.74 to take Middlesex to second, and while his average doubled the following summer, he played seven games in their Championship-winning season.
He developed his batting over the next few seasons, scoring his first professional hundred in the 2019 Royal London Cup, but struggled to nail down a regular spot in the side across formats. He has also developed his career off-field, becoming the PCA’s chairman earlier this year.
“I always saw myself one day returning to Glamorgan, and this this is the perfect time for me to do so, and I am excited for the next chapter in my cricket career,” Harris said. “I still believe I have a lot to offer on the pitch and I want to use my experience to assist the younger players and help us push for silverware.”
Mark Wallace, Glamorgan’s director of cricket, said: “From the moment James left, we’ve wanted to re-sign him. He’s a fantastic acquisition for the club. He’s a high-class seam bowler, a strong lower-order batsmen and a great voice in the dressing room given his leadership experience.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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